SIU report reveals horrific details about day Hamilton landlord killed two tenants
Published October 10, 2023 at 6:29 pm
Editor’s note: This story contains graphic content that may upset readers.
A landlord chased a blood-soaked tenant out of his home and repeatedly shot her on the street after he had killed her fiancé in Hamilton.
After a shootout with police later that night, the landlord was found dead with multiple registered and illegal guns in his Stoney Creek home on Jones Street.
Graphic details were revealed in a Special Investigations Unit report that was released on Sept. 25 about a high-profile shooting of two tenants after 5:30 p.m. on May 27, describing the horrifying events based on video footage and the accounts of seven civilian witnesses including two 911 callers. The incident had resulted in three deaths.
The report didn’t name the landlord and tenants. Media identified the landlord as Terry Brekka, 57, and police identified the engaged couple he killed as Carissa MacDonald, 27, and Aaron Stone, 28.
The Special Investigations Unit, a civilian law enforcement agency, concluded that the unidentified Hamilton police officer who shot Brekka did not break the law. The SIU investigates incidents involving an official that resulted in death, serious injury, the discharge of a firearm at a person or an allegation of sexual assault.
The landlord and tenants were arguing on May 27 about an unspecified issue in the area of the house where the tenants lived and who was going to pay for the damage to some of the property. A 911 caller reported that they were arguing about money, noting Brekka had a “drinking problem.”
“There was a history of the Complainant arguing and threatening (MacDonald) throughout the time she lived there,” according to the account from a 911 call in the report.
The landlord threatened the woman and shouted for extra money, saying “Okay, you’ve got one second to pay.”
The 911 caller said MacDonald screamed several times and told her landlord she would pay the money, telling the caller to contact police since the landlord had a firearm. The caller heard the phone drop and gunshots.
When it was clear that the tenants “had no intention of paying,” the landlord had entered his home and returned with a gun, shooting the man and then discharging his weapon at the woman “multiple times in her direction as she ran away.”
Video footage earlier showed the landlord had shot Stone twice. MacDonald then ran to him while the landlord continued shooting, following her to the road.
MacDonald collapsed on the road and Brekka “stood over her, fired several more times, and then re-entered his home.”
Witness called police at about 5:40 p.m.
A 911 caller had reported that the landlord, armed with a pistol-type firearm, chased a blood-soaked tenant out of the house and shot her on the street before he walked back to the house.
While the report didn’t specify the subject of the argument, Det.-Sgt. Steve Bereziuk told inthehammer.com back in May that the victims raised “health concerns” about a mouldy apartment with the homeowner just before they died.
The landlord was “more receptive to family members,” talking to them during the standoff, according to the report.
After Brekka inquired over the phone whether the tenants were dead, he asked that police tell the families he was sorry.
“He repeatedly apologized for what he had done, indicated he would not emerge from his predicament alive, and suggested he would fight the police,” according to the report.
Police learned he was the registered owner of multiple handguns and rifles as well as possibly owned unregistered firearms.
The officer who shot Brekka was inside an armoured vehicle on the driveway with other Emergency Response Unit officers, which allowed them to have a closeup look of the home. The vehicle also protected them from gunfire and prevented Brekka from fleeing.
Brekka had barricaded himself in the front door foyer area of his home with registered firearms he owned. A Hamilton police officer shot him through a hole in the front door after 10:30 p.m. using a HK416 rifle. A wounded Brekka moved to the garage through an interior door and died as a result of a single gunshot wound on the torso.
Following the shooting, officers sent a robot inside the home, finding two Scorpion rifles in the foyer and more firearms, magazines, and ammunition in the garage. Brekka was pronounced dead at 11:52 p.m. He was found lying on his front in a pool of blood.
Joseph Martino, director of the Special Investigations Unit, wrote in his report that the officer’s use of his firearm “was reasonable in the circumstances.”
The officer and his colleagues faced a second volley of “sustained gunfire” and negotiation attempts didn’t work.
“There was no reason to believe that continued negotiations might turn a corner or that retreat was possible without endangering the other residents in the neighbourhood or police officers maintaining a perimeter. Rather, what was necessary was the Complainant’s immediate incapacitation from a distance in order to stop the gunfire. The only weapon with a reasonable chance of doing just that was a firearm.”
To read the full report, click here.inthehammer's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising